Yesterday marked the 25th anniversary of Mothers Against Drunk Driving. Sad to say, as Rodney Balko writes for Fox News, MADD started out as an organization devoted to the laudable aim of cracking down on drunk drivers but has morphed into an organization devoted to cracking down on drinking, period. (Hat tip: Instapundit) MADD, for example, was the chief supporter of drunk-driving roadblocks, which catch few genuine drunks but generate huge amounts of fine revenue for local governments that use the dragnets to nab safe-driving citizens for seatbelt and equipment violations.
“Even MADD’s founder, Candy Lightner, has lamented that the organization has grown neo-prohibitionist in nature.
“‘[MADD has] become far more neo-prohibitionist than I had ever wanted or envisioned ..,’ Lightner is quoted as saying in an Aug. 6 story in the Washington Times. “I didn’t start MADD to deal with alcohol. I started MADD to deal with the issue of drunk driving,” she said.
“Unfortunately, the tax-exempt organization has become so enmeshed with government it has nearly become a formal government agency. MADD gets millions of dollars in federal and state funding, and has a quasi-official relationship with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. In some jurisdictions, DWI defendants are sentenced to attend and pay for alcoholic-recovery groups sponsored by MADD. In many cities, MADD officials are even allowed to man sobriety checkpoints alongside police.
“On the occasion of its 25th anniversary, perhaps its time Congress revisit the spigot of federal funding flowing to MADD, and consider revoking the organization’s tax-exempt status. Clearly, MADD isn’t the same organization it was 25 years ago. It has morphed into an anti-alcohol lobbying organization. There’s nothing wrong with that — it’s certainly within MADD’s and its supporters’ First Amendment rights.
“But taxpayers shouldn’t be forced to subsidize them.”